Hey - it's my 1000th post on the Embrace Pet Insurance blog!

It's hard to believe that 999 posts ago, I wrote the first Embrace blog post called "What am I trying to do?" on April 28, 2005. As an entrepreneur, I have no time to look years ahead in the future but I must admit, years ahead, it is certainly darn satisfying to look back.

Just to backtrack, the Embrace blog came about as follows.

Alex Krooglik and I (Laura Bennett) were part of the team that won the 2003 Wharton Business Plan Competition with a pet insurance idea (I know! Who'd have thunk it). Once we graduated, we decided that pet insurance is what we wanted to do with our lives and thus Embrace Pet Insurance was born in July 2003. Several years went by (raising money is a cinch compared to finding an insurance partnership) and we sold our first policy in October 2006. Things keep getting better ever since.

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Lady Gaga hairballed

Mama elephant holding babyLast year, we participated in Furminator's National Hairball Awareness Day by creating a Mama Elephant and Baby out of cat fur. It was pretty cute if I do say so myself.

This year, we're doing it again and there's a celebrity theme just to make it more interesting. My girls and I chose Lady Gaga as the celeb we would attempt to get a likeness of.

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Rocket and Rosie go walkabout

Rosie modeling her Joykatz walking jacket
If you just added a new cat into your home, you might be going through the internal debate of "indoor vs. outdoor" cat. I've always had outdoor cats and felt that keeping cats inside wasn't natural for them. But then Lily has had several mishaps and I've seen a red fox trotting by in front of of the house a few times and I get nervous, very nervous.

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Happy Fifth Birthday to Embrace Pet Insurance!

IMG_1081 Happy Birthday to Embrace! This day five years ago, we sold our first policy to me and my cat Lily.

I distinctly remember when we got the go-ahead from our underwriters at the time, Lloyd's of London, and since I was out of the office on that day, I phoned in to purchase our first policy.

We'd been training our first 2 Embracers, Chris and Lea, on the phones by having people (including my mom) randomly call in to pretend to buy a policy so I didn't tell Lea, who happened to answer the phone this time around, that this was a "live" purchase until the end of the call. It was a giddy feeling for all of us when I told her to put through my real credit card info and really buy the policy.

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BZTAT turns the Embrace Pet Insurance offices into an art gallery

image from bztat.com I just love it when a path that most likely would end without any particular direction turns out to be the start of an amazing experience.

That random-walk-turned-new-adventure is what happened recently at Embrace.

The start:

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The new and improved Embrace Wellness Rewards program

Since introducing the Embrace Wellness Rewards program in 2009, we've been loving the attention our Embraced pet parents have been giving it. Many people love the program and have given us lots of feedback on how to improve it, particularly increasing the limit and giving us a laundry list of items to add to it.

So, as part of our recent insurance product changes, we took the opportunity to make a few changes to the Wellness program as follows:

  • we have added nail trimming, anal gland expression, gastropexy, and umbilical hernia repair to the Wellness Rewards plan
  • we moved the dental cleanings out of the Wellness Rewards coverage into the new Dental Rewards coverage so the dental illness prevention and coverage were in one place (just like human dental coverage) - more details in a post coming later this week
  • in addition to the $200 Wellness Rewards coverage level, we now have Wellness Rewards Plus with a $400 limit. This will help those pet parents who live in an area with high veterinary costs (like NY and LA) or those with a lot of routine visits to the vet
    • Rewards Plus covers the same as the basic Wellness Rewards coverage but with a higher limit and also adds prescription diet food and OFA and PennHIP examinations.
  • for costs, see the flyer below

Wellness rewards flyer 
I think most people are going to find something here to please their budget.

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Great example of using your Embrace Wellness Rewards benefits

Lyger at the lake Over at the Embrace Pet Community blog, Lea recently posted about going online to save some money for her flea and tick preventative medication for Lyger.

It was so easy to squeeze out the most benefit from her wellness budget by shopping online (muchos dollares saved there) and by using the Embrace wellness plan (spreads the cost out over the year and saved $21!).

I like this bit best though :) :

And, since I use Embrace's Wellness Rewards program, to cover Lyger's checkups, vaccines, and preventative meds (even meds bought online) I'll be reimbursed $200 for today's costs!

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New Embrace friend alert - PetRelocation.com

New friend alert! PetRelocation.com (this is what happens when you hang out too much on Twitter!) 

If you have ever left the US or Canada to go to Europe with a pet, it's worse than trying to get your own paperwork in order. The rules aren't particularly clear, the airlines are some help but not particularly enthusiastic, and you have that awful feeling as you look out the window on the plane whether they will turn your family pet away at the other end because you overlooked some nuance.

In my prior life many moons ago (pre-kids, pre-MBA, pre-Embrace), I worked at a large life and health insurance company in Toronto, Canada. At the time, I was an actuarial student and lucky enough to get an internal job posting to Dublin, Ireland, which I jumped at. There was just one problem - what to do with my cat Simon?

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Support our small pet-related businesses: waggintails

Waggintails  

I've followed Waggintails for 5 years now. John Gigliotti, the founder, is really passionate about quality foods (read healthy and safe) for pets and has an exceptional online business that satisfies that niche admirably.

So, I was moved to action when I received the email below:

Dear Friend

I lost a good customer the other day. 

I was out of what the product needed, and she was able to find someone else that had it.  “I can’t keep my dogs waiting,” she emailed me.  

She had been with me for three years.  It hurts.

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The Embrace Pet Community giveaways

Paws to save pets Make sure to check out the Embrace Pet Community's blog for our first giveaway on behalf of Paws to Save Pets.

Some pretty cool collars and a Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health are up for grabs - check out the blog post for details on how to get your free stuff.

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